Casey Capers - USA

Friday, March 31, 2017

Vol. 21 No. 1 - 31 March, 2017

Jim and I left Brisbane, Australia on 2 March and arrived in Orlando, Florida on 3 March, via Auckland, New Zealand which is where this photo was taken,  Flew Air New Zealand to Los Angeles.
Waiting in Auckland, New Zealand.
Weather was warm and sunny in Daytona Beach.
Beach Street, Daytona Beach.

On 7 March Jim's 97 year old mother, Helen passed away.  Jim had flown to Buffalo the previous day, so was with her.  Joe, Jimmy and I flew from Orlando to Niagara Falls on the 9th, to attend the wake that afternoon and evening.
Spirit Airlines - economy air travel, but friendly!

Wondering which river is below us.??

Lake Erie and Buffalo city.
The Church in Darien Centre for mom's funeral.

It started snowing Friday morning, very cold!  Looking for some recreation close by, we visited a new brewery near Strykersville - Windy Brew.  Named because of the wind turbines in the area.
A snow plough preparing for the snowfall forecast.

L to R Baillie, Michelle, Joe, Jimmy and Jim at Windy Brew.
It was a fun place with great beers on tap.

Saturday, much more snow had fallen.  Michelle took Joe, Jimmy, Jim and I to Niagara Falls airport for our return flight to Orlando, Florida.  The first time I have seen snow ploughs working on the runway!

Website:  Niagara Falls International Airport is 4 miles east of downtown Niagara Falls, in Niagara County, New York. Owned and operated by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, the airport shares its runways with the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.

Back to Daytona Beach for Bike Week.
Over the Seabreeze Bridge to beachside, start of Bike Week 2017.
Main Street, Daytona Beach.

Cool things seen outside the International Speedway.

Daytona International Speedway.
We enjoy the vendors at the Speedway marketplace.

Aftermarket lights for motorcycles.
On Saturday, we caught up with Ron and Regina at Beach Street - more displays and vendors.

Best helmet of Bike Week!

Rat Rod.

Went to The Last Resort for something to eat - less crowds there.

Lesley on motorcycle swing at the Last Resort.
Junk pile at The Last Resort.
It was a quiet Bike Week for us - Jim went to the Flat Track races to see Cody Johncox race.  Cody had a motorbike 'failure', blew a radiator and repaired the bike in Jimmy's garage.
There were three days of cold weather, but the last weekend was warm and sunny.

Jim spent some time on the truck - new tyres on the prime mover, and replaced a board on the trailer.  Lined up to load for Thursday, so Wednesday evening did a lap of the Boardwalk and Main Street.
A1A or Atlantic Avenue.

Ocean Walk, to the Boardwalk and Main Street Pier.
Froggy's Saloon on Main Street.

The Boot Hill Saloon on Main Street.

Sunsetters Riverfront Bar and Grill is at the beachside end of the Main Street Bridge which crosses the Halifax River.  This was the first time we had actually been there at sunset. A waitress greeted us as we entered and gave each of us a 2oz cup of rum punch "to toast the sunset" in 14 minutes. Everyone had a drink, and the band counted down to the sunset and everyone toasted!  That was fun!

The Main Street bridge is a drawbridge and goes up for tall sailing boats and yachts.  When it is not a large event on in Daytona, Sunsetters has small classes of beer for 50 cents whenever the drawbridge goes up.
The truck and trailer had been sitting for 4 months - time to move it!

Over to Davenport, Florida to load at Ritchie Brothers Auction - some crane parts.
Website:  Ritchie Bros.' annual February auction at its 200-acre Orlando, Florida site sets auction records year after year.  This is typically Ritchie Bros.' largest auction each year - and the largest equipment auction in the world.

Ritchie Bros. from the highway.

One of these would be fun!

The auction was four weeks prior,  a lot of equipment left in the yard, either didn't sell or waiting to be picked up.
Loading the truck ahead of us.
Our truck - loaded.
There were three trucks ahead of us - we were there for 6 hours.

Loaded one counter weight, one boom section, some catwalk sections and miscellaneous pulleys and stands.
Had plenty of time to deliver in Texas, 2070 kms (about 1300 miles) by Monday.

Spent Friday night at the Frog City Travel Plaza in Rayne, Louisiana, one of my favourite towns.  Had time for a nice breakfast Saturday morning.

Lots of 'froggy' decorations.
Saturday afternoon so we stopped at a truckstop in Mont Belvieu on the east side of Houston and lined up a meet with Tim White, Michi and their son, Patrick (5 ½ whom we had not met!)  Also Tim’s son, TJ, now married to Jennifer with 10 month old twins Maggie and Jackson.  Tim & Michi picked us up at the truckstop and we all had a fabulous visit and meal at Iguana Joe’s Mexican Restaurant. So much fun, will definitely have to fit in another visit with the "White" families again soon!

A Houston, Texas intersection!
A Rest Area between Houston and San Antonio displays some local history.
Sequin, TX rest area.

Sunday night, we had the opportunity for Texas Bar-B-Q dinner at Cowpoke’s across from the truckstop in Pearsall.  We have stopped here several times.

The delivery Monday morning was on a highway, at a bridge over the Neuces River, south of San Antonio, out in the country.  The two other trucks with crane parts from the auction were there also about 8am.  Half an hour later the forklift arrived, but its maximum lifting was 16,000 lbs, we had one counter weight that was 26,000 lbs!
After taking the boom section off, we waited until all trucks were unloaded and us and one other truck had to follow them to a trucking company in Laredo 120 kms (70 miles) to unload the counter weights.
A cactus in bud.
We reloaded late Monday afternoon at a cross dock where freight from Mexico is accumulated for shipping to the USA and Canada.
We had four crates of Kaydon pitch bearings.  They were overwidth, and required tarping.  Had to put the ‘oversize’ signs on front and rear and red flags.
Load was for a wind energy farm in Western New York.

Internet:  The pitch bearing is often called the blade bearing or slewing ring bearing. It’s bolted to the blade root on one side and the rotor hub on the other. The pitch system is the whole assembly to rotate the blade changing their angle and lift. They are either rotated via hydraulics and a piston or by an electric motor and gearing. 
The industry is facing ongoing challenges in the reliability of these bearings. they are installed packed with grease and we hope they will rotate back and forwards for 20 odd years without needing to be replaced. 
Over width load - Laredo, Texas to Cohocton, New York.
Laredo, TX to Cohocton, NY.
Spring time in Texas – the wildflowers are always spectacular!  Bluebonnets being the state flower of Texas.
Roadside wildflowers in Texas.
Internet:  Why are there so many wildflowers along Texas highways?  Credit the Texas Department of Transportation.  Shortly after the Texas Highway Department was organized in 1917, officials noted that wildflowers were among the first vegetation to reappear at roadside cuts and fills.  By 1934, department rules delayed all mowing, unless essential for safety, until spring and early summer wildflower seasons were over.  This practice has stayed in place for more than 60 years.  The Texas DOT buys and sows about 30,000 pounds of wildflower seed each year.

Delivered the pitch bearings to a wind farm outside of Cohocton, New York on Friday 31 March.  It was cold and raining, and extremely windy on top of a hill!
Outside Cohocton, NY, heading to the top of the hill to windmills.

Quick delivery, even with taking off and putting away the 'oversize' banners, flags and tarp and being wet and cold.
Headed north to the Bergen Diner near Rochester, NY and met Aussie friend, Stephen for a quick 'G'day' and breakfast.  We had some treats from Australia for him and Teri.
Over to Buffalo to load and tarp in the cold and rain.  The shipment is going south to warmer temperatures.